Stephen Carleton

Stephen Carleton

Stephen Carleton is one of Australia’s leading and award-winning playwrights. Based in Brisbane, where he teaches drama and playwriting at the University of Queensland, he also maintains close ties to his hometown, Darwin, and to Cairns and Far North Queensland, where he was born. Stephen’s work is frequently anchored in northern landscape, imagery and politics, and is often lauded for the black humour that runs throughout. He is co-artistic director of Knock-em-Down Theatre with Mary Anne Butler and Gail Evans.

Stephen is one of only three playwrights nationally to win both major theatre industry awards for new writing: the Patrick White Playwrights’ Award in 2004/5 (Sydney Theatre Company) and the Griffin Award for Best New Australian Play in 2015 (Griffin Theatre Company).

He was Chair of the National Playwrights Committee for the Australian Writers’ Guild in 2015/16 (with Mary Anne Butler), and his company Knock-em-Down Theatre has received a Sidney Myer capacity building grant to promote his work in the US.

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His major plays include: Constance Drinkwater and the Final Days of Somerset (2006), The Narcissist (2007), Bastard Territory (2014), all published by Playlab, The Turquoise Elephant (2016), New Babylon (2021), and the musical with Paul Hodge, Joh for PM (2017).

His plays have been produced by companies including Queensland Theatre Company, Sydney Theatre Company, La Boite Theatre Company, Griffin Theatre Company, JUTE Theatre Company, Brown’s Mart in Darwin, La Mama, and the Brisbane Powerhouse.


Blue Bones by Merlynn Tong opens at Brisbane Powerhouse from Wed 18 Aug – Sat 28 Aug!